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Tribune News Service

International Budget for Monday, November 23, 2020

Updated at 0100 UTC (8:00 p.m. U.S. EST Sunday).

Additional news stories, including full U.S. coverage, appear on the MCT-NEWS-BJT and MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.


^US vaccine train won’t be derailed, Warp Speed leader says<


“All decisions are made, the train is running. Whether one administration or the other doesn’t, frankly, make a difference,” Moncef Slaoui said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The operation “has been isolated from the administration, from the political environment, and the political context,” said Slaoui, a former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines operation.

450 by Elizabeth Dexheimer. MOVED


^World leaders praise Paris climate pact as Trump justifies exit<


Participants on the second day of a virtual Group of 20 summit of rich nations discussed climate change in a session hosted by Saudi Arabia, holder of the forum’s presidency. The U.S. formally exited the Paris accord, which pledges limits on fossil-fuel pollution, earlier this month.

550 by John Follain and Kait Bolongaro. MOVED


^Putin says he’s not ready to recognize Biden as US president<


“We will work with anyone who has the confidence of the American people,” Putin said on Russian state TV Sunday. “But that confidence can only be given to a candidate whose victory has been recognized by the opposing party, or after the results are confirmed in a legitimate, legal way.”

200 by Natasha Doff. MOVED



^More than 1 million people traveled on planes in US on a single day ahead of Thanksgiving amid coronavirus pandemic<


A whopping 1,019,836 people went on U.S. flights on Friday, data released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shows.

That’s the second-highest number of single-day travelers since mid-March, when the outbreak of COVID-19 began to cause shutdowns throughout the U.S. and devastated the air-travel industry.

400 by Peter Sblendorio. MOVED


^The CDC upgrades cruise ship COVID-19 infection risk to highest level possible<


Amid reports of widespread outbreaks in cruises earlier this year, CDC recommends for travelers to avoid cruise ships, including river cruises, around the world, given the “very high” risk of becoming infected or spreading the novel coronavirus.

450 by Bianca Padr Ocasio in Miami. MOVED


^Hospitals brace for holiday COVID surge, fearing staff shortages and burnout<


Last week, they found out. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 15 COVID-19 patients were admitted to Loma Linda, in what Dr. Michael Matus, chief of hospitalist medicine, described as “a huge rush of patients.”

“We immediately filled one ward and half of another,” Matus said. “It immediately strained the nursing staff. And then the physicians. We try to keep the physicians seeing up to 16 patients. That day, it was up to 24 . It was our biggest day in the last month.”

A new surge of COVID-19 is battering Southern California, bearing down on exhausted health care workers, raising anxiety levels on hospital wards and stoking fears that there might not be enough staff and supplies for the difficult weeks ahead. The coming holidays only make the situation more dire.

1500 by Maria L. La Ganga, Brittny Mejia. MOVED


^’No beds anywhere’: Hospitals strained to limit by COVID-19<


Sixteen sliding glass doors are all closed, and behind each lies a patient struggling to breathe. Almost all are on ventilators because their lungs are too weak to work on their own. Clear tubes carry oxygen into their throats and chests, which mechanically rise and fall as their bodies lie still.

On this Thursday morning, 28 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care, with 12 spilling beyond the designated unit to areas designed for heart problems, strokes and surgical recoveries. A total of 97 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to Regions, which is almost full.

1400 by Jeremy Olson in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Daily California coronavirus cases triple as pandemic dramatically worsens<


The coronavirus is now infecting more Californians daily than at any previous point in the COVID-19 pandemic, raising concerns about a new peak in coronavirus-related deaths by Christmas.

As of Saturday night, California was averaging more than 11,500 new coronavirus cases a day over the last seven days, more than triple the number a month earlier, on Oct. 21, which was nearly 3,200, according to a Times analysis.

1700 (with trims) by Rong-Gong Lin II. MOVED


^LA County suspends outdoor dining at restaurants as coronavirus surges<


The new rule takes effect at 10 p.m. Wednesday and restricts restaurants, along with breweries, wineries and bars, to takeout and delivery only for the first time since May. They will remain in place for at least three weeks, officials said.

Wineries and breweries can continue retail operations.

750 by Alex Wigglesworth in Los Angeles. MOVED


^Upper Manhattan, Staten Island headed for renewed COVID restrictions, Cuomo warns<


“We have several communities that are (on) the warning track,” he said at a Manhattan press conference.

450 by Shant Shahrigian in New York. MOVED


^Bay Area county hits a record as California coronavirus cases surge<


Public health officials are strongly encouraging people to stay home for Thanksgiving and Christmas as coronavirus cases continue to surge nationwide. In California last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom instituted new restrictions subjecting most of the state to a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in an effort to slow the spread.

500 by Aldo Toledo in San Jose, Calif. MOVED


^NC reports record number of new COVID-19 cases as testing surges<


The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,514 new cases, breaking Thursday’s record of 4,296 cases. Four of North Carolina’s five highest daily case totals have come since Wednesday.

150 by Adam Wagner in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED


^Ahead of Thanksgiving, Kentucky reports another record-breaking week of COVID-19 cases<


The new cases put the week’s total 3,766 new cases above the previous weekly record, according to the office of Gov. Andy Beshear.

250 by Morgan Eads in Lexington, Ky. MOVED


^Ohio reports 8,133 new coronavirus cases, increasing trend continues<


The state has been averaging a positivity rate of 13.5% over the last seven days. Data for the last recorded day was Friday with a rate of 13.9%.

Case numbers have been edging higher in the last week, averaging between 7,000 and about 8,000 cases each day.

The state has continued a trend of increasing cases, prompting Gov. Mike DeWine to enact a statewide overnight curfew in hopes of getting case numbers to drop.

300 by Beth Burger in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED


^Hospitalization numbers rise sharply as Florida adds 6,587 new COVID-19 cases<


Sunday’s announced case total breaks a run of five consecutive days over 7,000 new cases for the state, although Sunday numbers usually have been lower throughout the pandemic. There’s usually less data collection and entry over the weekend.

150 (with trims) by David J. Neal. MOVED


^Fear of flying is a COVID-era conundrum<


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued cautions and updated guidelines related to family gatherings. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House coronavirus adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in interviews that his kids won’t be coming home for Thanksgiving because of coronavirus risks. “Relatives getting on a plane, being exposed in an airport,” he told CBS News. “And then walking in the door and saying ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ — that you have to be concerned about.”

Are Americans listening? Maybe not. Especially as airlines, reeling from major revenue blows since the pandemic took hold in March, tell passengers they can travel with peace of mind and sweeten the deal with special holiday fares.

1500 by Victoria Knight. MOVED


^Mass COVID-19 vaccination gets a dry run in a Louisiana parking lot<


The city recently completed a test run, one of about a dozen across the state. Health officials there organized the community’s first-ever drive-thu flu shot clinic in the massive parking lot of the Louisiana state fairgrounds.

Drivers rolled down their windows and rolled up their sleeves as they pulled up to tents for the largest vaccination event the regional health department has ever hosted. Cheerful and fast-working nurses jabbed them with vaccines. Within about five minutes, people were on their way, exiting the parking lot while passing a row of food stands selling corn dogs, roasted nuts and lemonade.

In the near future, that’s just the way officials hope it will go for a COVID-19 vaccine.

1200 (with trims) by Angelica LaVito in New York. MOVED


^Delhi crematorium adds furnaces, pyres as COVID-19 deaths soar<


The capital has been one of the epicenters of the pandemic in India, which is second only to the United States in its COVID-19 caseload.

The country has reported 9.09 million coronavirus cases so far and 133,227 fatalities.

250 by dpa correspondents in New Delhi. MOVED


^Swedish PM sends COVID plea to nation after ‘careless’ response<


Lofven, the third prime minister in Sweden’s history to deliver such a national address, declared that “too many people have been careless about following the recommendations” that health authorities say are key if the virus is to be reined in.

Sweden famously avoided a lockdown, relying instead on voluntary measures. But with a death rate considerably higher than elsewhere in the Nordic region, and intensive care beds rapidly filling up, authorities in the country are now recalibrating their approach.

300 by Niclas Rolander and Rafaela Lindeberg. MOVED


^U.K.’s Johnson pledges regular testing as way out of COVID-19 curbs<


Areas under the highest level of curbs will have access to regular tests. People who come into contact with someone with the disease will be able to avoid quarantine by taking a test every day for seven days, Johnson’s office said.

The program, which will be trialed in Liverpool, northwest England, is due to be announced by the prime minister in Parliament on Monday, alongside tougher restrictions for the worst hit areas and guidelines for family visits over the Christmas holidays.

550 by Thomas Penny. MOVED



^Ethiopia conflict sparks conflicting narratives as battle rages<


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration has said its troops have seized control of several Tigrayan towns, indicated the fall of its capital, Mekelle, is imminent and told diplomats the conflict is likely to be over in the next week or two. But Tigrayan President Debretsion Gebremichael says his forces have suffered minimal casualties and are strongly entrenched along the access routes leading toward Mekelle.

300 by Bloomberg News. MOVED


^Joshua Wong to plead guilty to Hong Kong protest-related charges<


Immediate detainment could follow, Wong wrote in a Facebook post late Sunday, as a trial will be skipped and the hearing set to resume Monday will proceed straight to closing statements. “To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if the three of us are imprisoned tomorrow,” he added.

150 by Rebecca Choong Wilkins and Natalie Lung. MOVED


^From a crab shack to Hyundai, China’s wrath over a US missile defense system still weighs on South Korea<

SKOREA-CHINA:LA — A few years ago, Kim Kyoung-chul’s once-thriving crab restaurant on a balmy island off the southern coast of South Korea unwittingly became a casualty of escalating tensions between global powers.

Hundreds of miles and a sea crossing away from his touristy street lined with bling, fashion and cardboard cutouts of K-pop stars, South Korea was installing an American missile interceptor over China’s objections that it threatened its national security. The interceptor’s radar, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the time in 2016, “goes far beyond the defense need of the Korean Peninsula. It will reach deep into the hinterland of Asia, which will directly damage China’s strategic security interests.”

Kim had little idea how deeply the geopolitical dispute would impact his small business. Beijing’s harsh and swift economic retribution against South Korea — the repercussions are felt to this day — took a toll on economic matters including K-pop groups, exporters and a department store conglomerate. Chinese tourism to South Korea evaporated overnight.

2250 by Victoria Kim in Jeju Island, South Korea. MOVED



^Biden to unveil Cabinet picks as key states aim to certify his win<


On the eve of deadlines in the key battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania to certify their vote outcomes, a few prominent Republicans again urged the president to abandon his chaotic crusade, now in its third week of near-daily setbacks in courtrooms and election offices across the country.

1150 (with trims) by Laura King in Washington. MOVED


^Michigan House speaker floats possibility of ‘constitutional crisis’<


The Board of State Canvassers meets Monday to consider certifying Michigan’s statewide election results, including President-elect Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory. But top Republican Party leaders have asked the board to delay certification in a bid to investigate “anomalies and irregularities” they claim occurred in the election.

The board features two Republicans and two Democrats. Many legal experts believe the panel has a duty, under Michigan law, to certify the results.

750 by Craig Mauger in Lansing, Mich. MOVED


^Pompeo confirms US withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty<


The move was immediately criticized by a top Democrat, who urged President-elect Joe Biden to reverse the decision next year.

300 by Steven T. Dennis. MOVED


^Pompeo trolls critics in long goodbye as he looks to his future<


It’s a trip that seemed almost calculated to offend — and to burnish Pompeo’s conservative credentials for a possible 2024 presidential campaign. Never one for niceties of etiquette or protocol, Pompeo’s last big tour as America’s 70th secretary of state offered provocations of those who have questioned Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy and Pompeo’s role as its No. 1 promoter.

Like President Trump, Pompeo refuses to publicly acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 election. Nonetheless, the seven-nation journey, one of the longest he’s taken as secretary, offered evidence that Pompeo is already looking past the Trump era, chockablock as the trip was with pronouncements likely to make Biden’s life difficult and setting out a platform for his own political future.

1250 by Nick Wadhams. MOVED


^Trump aide tells Vietnam to curb China shipments to avoid duties<


The Commerce Department this month imposed preliminary anti-subsidy duties on Vietnamese car and truck tires, citing the nation’s “undervalued currency” among the reasons. Cracking down on Chinese trans-shipments and easing the U.S.’s trade deficit with Vietnam “could be the basis for a reversal” of the tariffs, O’Brien said he told the government’s top leaders during his weekend visit to Hanoi.

250 by Jennifer Jacobs. MOVED


^Trump campaign appeals dismissal of Pennsylvania election suit<


The campaign’s filing on Sunday, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, had been expected.

650 by Erik Larson. MOVED


^President Trump’s legal team is a ‘national embarrassment,’ Chris Christie says<


The former New Jersey governor said it was time for the president to face reality.

“If you have got the evidence of fraud, present it,” Christie said on ABC Sunday morning.

300 by David Matthews. MOVED


^Tropical disturbance reemerges northeast of the Caribbean Sea<


The disturbance, located to the northeast of the Caribbean on Sunday, has a 20% chance of developing in the next five days, likely somewhere between the Bahamas and Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is expected to move in a northeastward direction.

250 by Robin Webb. MOVED


^How the trans icon that Spain ‘didn’t want to see’ inspired TV’s newest global smash<


The second vice president of Spain, however, did just that.

“Last night I finished watching ‘Veneno,'” Pablo Iglesias, third in line for the presidency, tweeted in Spanish last month, shortly before the series’ conclusion. “It makes you cry, laugh, remember, empathize, but above all, it makes you understand the brutal pain that has been and continues to be inflicted on trans people, simply for being themselves.”

He was not alone: Spain fell in love with the show about trans singer and TV personality Cristina Ortiz Rodr guez — better known as “la Veneno” — when it debuted in March on streaming platform Atresplayer Premium. Since then, the number of Atresplayer subscribers has grown 42%, with “Veneno” 10 times more watched than any other show on the platform.

1100 by Laura Zornosa. MOVED


^Review: In ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ Chadwick Boseman gives his final and finest performance<


There is, for one, the undimmed resonance of Wilson’s insights into the challenges and contradictions of African American identity. There are the joys, frustrations and inevitable compromises of making art, especially if you happen to be a musician of color in a white man’s recording studio, fighting to assert every inch of your domain (or to forge one to begin with). Most of all, there is the late Chadwick Boseman, giving a furiously inventive screen performance that also happens to be his last.

1550 by Justin Chang. MOVED


^Mary McNamara: So many lives would be different if we’d had ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ 50 years ago. Including mine<


I’ll tell you who I am. I’m the girl who lost to Beth in the first round at the local tournament and then gave her a Kotex pad in the ladies room.

Yup, I’m Kotex girl.

1950 by Mary McNamara. MOVED



^Commentary: Netanyahu wholly embraced Trump — and painted himself into a partisan US corner. Now what?<


But President Trump could not resist demanding a personal favor for his reelection race, as well as a salve to his limitless ego, asking, “Do you think Sleepy Joe (Biden) could have made this deal?” As Trump’s smirk visibly dissolved, the prime minister offered only a bromide about appreciating “the help for peace from anyone in America.”

Those pallid, cautious words from Netanyahu, rather than his usual haughty truculence, offered the first inkling that he may have belatedly glimpsed the price of his strategy of meddling in American politics on the Republican side and fervently embracing Trump.

900 by Samuel G. Freedman. MOVED


^Editorial: China is abusing its power because we blew our chance at containment<


As former national security adviser Lt. General H.R. McMaster recently told the Catalyst, a publication of the George W. Bush Institute, China was brought into the international order on the assumption that it would play by the rules, liberalize its economy and ease off the reins of authoritarianism — an assumption that China repeatedly has shown was misplaced.

550 by Dallas Morning News Editorial. MOVED


^Editorial: As Trump nears the exit, never forget his inhumane treatment of children<


700 by The Times Editorial Board. MOVED




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